Online hate speech is content targeting protected characteristics with the intent or likely effect of inciting/spreading/promoting hatred or discrimination.

What you need to know

‘Protected characteristics’ are aspects of a person’s identity that are protected from discrimination. Online hate speech involves treating someone unfairly because they possess one or more of these characteristics.

These may include race, age, sex, disability, religion, transgender identity and sexual orientation.

Social media and other online platforms can provide a platform for expressing online hate and can influence people to behave in a hateful or even violent way towards a targeted group.


If you, or someone you know, has been a victim of online hate, you can report it to the National Hate Crime Report and Support Centre, run by Victim Support Cymru. You can do so online or by telephone 0300 30 31 982. Victim Support Cymru has specially trained staff to provide emotional support to victims. The service is free, confidential and bilingual.

The anonymity of the internet and the ease at which posts can be created and shared on social media means that hate speech and content promoting hatred and discrimination can become visible and spread quickly.

It is not uncommon for professional footballers to receive abuse throughout their careers. This film and supporting resources were developed in response to the online abuse aimed at female footballers witnessed across social media during the 20/21 season to raise awareness of the issue and promote respectful behaviour online.


Learning and teaching resources